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UAlbany’s Dreby Explores Impact of U.S. Immigration Policies in Latest Book

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 18, 2015) – In an era of increased debate over United States immigration laws, University at Albany sociologist Joanna Dreby explores the effect of restrictive policies on children and families in her latest book Everyday Illegal: When Policies Undermine Immigrant Families.

Dreby, an award-winning author, gives a voice to families of mixed and unauthorized immigration status. The book is unique in that it interweaves Dreby’s own experiences with narratives from 81 families living in increasingly vulnerable circumstances.

Everyday Illegal Book Cover
UAlbany sociologist Joanna Dreby explores the effect of restrictive immigration policies in her latest book Everyday Illegal: When Policies Undermine Immigrant Families. Book cover artwork is by local artist Bob Anderson.

Everyday Illegal takes readers directly into the homes and schools of children. It introduces “suddenly single mothers” who struggle after their husbands have been deported, while also presenting the inequalities for children who have different legal status than their siblings. Its first-hand accounts force readers to confront the impacts of immigration enforcement and deportation.

Everyday Illegal offers insight into the experiences of young children, giving voice to their unique experiences and perspectives which are often discounted by adult debates about immigration policy,” Dreby said. “The book highlights the negative consequences of stagnant immigration policies and restrictive enforcement practices.”

Everyday Illegal is scheduled to be officially released by University of California Press on March 6. It received advanced praise by various writers including Mary Romero, who authored The Maid’s Daughter, Living Inside and Outside the American Dream.

“This beautifully written study forces us to recognize the impact of our inhumane policy and is a must-read for understanding the underbelly consequences of an immigration system that demands mass deportation and the criminalization of immigrants who want to work and provide a better life for their family in the United States,” Romero said.

At UAlbany, Dreby’s research primarily focuses on families, with specific expertise in research with Mexican migrants and with children. Her work explores the themes of gender, work-family balance, child care, transnational ties, context-specific settlement patterns and return migration.

She is the author of the award-winning book Divided by Borders: Mexican Migrants and their Children (University of California Press 2010) and is co-editor of Family and Work in Everyday Ethnography (Temple University Press 2013). She also published the award-winning article The Burden of Deportation on Children in Mexican Immigrant Families in the Journal of Marriage and Family in 2012.

Read more on Everyday Illegal through the University of California Press website or explore UAlbany’s Department of Sociology.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.